5 tips for a smooth transition into Reception

It’s almost September and your child is starting Reception. Are they ready? They’re probably pretty close. But more importantly, are you ready for this big change?

Going to school is an enormously positive transition for your child. It’s exciting, new and inviting. Of course, it can also be anxiety-provoking for both parent and child. Child psychologist, Hannah Abrahams, (@childhoodminded) shares some tips with us on how to manage your child’s new routine and behaviour to make the transition to school as smooth and easy as possible.

  1. Start teaching them how to self-soothe. One thing you can do is to introduce your child to self-regulatory behaviours. These are things you can practice together, so they remember what to do when they feel uncomfortable or sad in a new situation. A great example is ”koala cuddles”. Put your hand on their heart and ask them: How’s your heart feeling? Is it feeling fast? Together, take a moment to notice how their body is feeling. Putting your hand onto your heart is a great way to slow down your heartbeat, have a mindful moment, and to feel more grounded. Practice this with your child regularly, and if they feel nervous in a new situation, they can get into the habit of giving themselves a koala cuddle to bring their emotional temperature down.
  2. Practice their new routine. Part of what makes school scary for some kids is their new routine. Try to prepare them by modelling how the day might look at home. This might be playing dress up, where they practice putting on their new school uniform and wearing it for a small amount of time. You can also pretend to be their new teacher, and do the walk to school, so it’s easier when the day comes.
  3. Be specific about school pick up time. Understanding the concept of time can be difficult for children. Instead of saying what time you’ll pick them up, you could say: ”I’ll pick you up after you’ve had your lunch”. This helps children cope with the routine of the school day and how they can judge when it’s nearly home time.
  4. Help them decompress after school. Children get incredibly tired when they first start school. As parents, its easy to overschedule playdates that we hope will help them build friendships, or because we are trying to juggle work and childcare. But often, children need to just come home, decompress and have time to just be. If you are one of those parents worried about how to juggle the gap between school and finishing work, consider hiring a part-time nanny to look after your child in your home, giving them the downtime they need after school.
  5. Ask descriptive questions about their school day. It’s often hard to get our kids to open up about what went on at school. They’re tired, and often they need a snack first! A great tip for opening up the conversation is to use descriptive questions like; ”I wonder if you had a nice time playing with Charlie in the playground today?”. This will also develop their emotional language. The more you talk about feelings, the more they’ll learn how to talk about themselves.

An after school nanny can make a big difference to your child’s transition to Reception and provide them with the emotional break they need from school, giving them time to rest and recoup at home.

Here at Koru Kids, we also love books! One of our favourite kids books is ”The colour monster goes to school” and it couldn’t be more suitable for this time of year, with many of our children starting reception. Its the perfect book to tackle school nerves.

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